Sunday, November 20, 2011

Skyward Sword Blade Journal, Day 4

SPOILER ALERT: PRE DUNGEON 4, most sidequests included

It was a FUN, FUN day. Again I was busy with lots of sidequesting, especially some FUN, FUN minigame, and the main quests offered a series of surprises.

Well, the first thing I had to do was sealing the Imprisoned. It seems there are two ways of fighting him, you can either jump on his back or attack his feet to make him collapse. I only tried the second method, but I've heard you can also beat him the other way. The harp is quite a weird instrument. You can't actually play a song whenever you want like you could with the Ocarina or the Wind Waker. You can play the harp freely not following any song, which can cause different stuff like calling Gossip Stones (yay! didn't see that coming), but you can't play a specific song whenever you want. There are certain points, where Fi joins you with singing to cause a certain effect like opening a gate to the Silent Realm.

The Silent Realm is terrifying, my heart pounded when I was done. The guards never got me, but it was very close at times. I still hadn't fully familiarized myself with the forest, even though I've spent hours in this place, so I lost orientation here and there. But luckily you have these beams, which show you the location of the tears. That made things easier. And Eldin and Lanayru were a little bit easier to overlook, so I feel confident. So far the Silent Realm was the only place, where you can collect Dusk Relics. You need these to upgrade the Slingshot and the Sacred Shield. I wonder where you will be able to get these at the end of the game? Because it seems you can't reenter the Silent Realm. Luckily I got my Treasure Medal equipped, so I got 7 Dusk Relics, which was enough to upgrade everything for now. But in case my Goddess Shield gets crashed, I would need more of them.

I love the salvage robot, how he admires "Mistress Fi" and bullies Link. It's just not what a robot would do, which makes it so funny. The robots are probably my favorite of the new races, but all four new races are really something. That's one of Skyward Sword's strong sides, there's only one Goron in the entire game (so far) and they invented four new creative races with interesting characteristics. Well, I liked how you got to see the salvaged goods earlier in the game, you walked over the pinwheel and this... wheel thingy the FUN, FUN island guy wants earlier in the game. You probably wondered what this pinwheel was doing in the middle of the volcano area for example, it seemed to be a random detail. It was not though and it might had been more interesting to look for it without the dowsing, just relying on your memory. "Wait, where did I see a pinwheel before?". But many people probably would have been frustrated, because they forgot...

So, after the third dungeon you finally get to enter the tornado, which is an atmospheric area. I love the ruined towers inside the storm and the puzzle with the bridge was really smart. Luckily Fi didn't spoil it this time. Interestingly I only found one open Goddess treasure chest in the tornado. Which means I'm still missing one, where I don't know where the chest went.

Skyloft at night, is there anything better? I just love the atmosphere. One funny thing that I noticed is that these cats can actually fly with their big ears. I throwed one down into the abyss (one of the scary night cats of course) and it came back, which looked totally funny. At night there's also one of these hands in the toilet asking for paper. This leads to a very interesting sidequest, where you have to make a choice. One of the bullies fell in love with the only girl in school, however, she has an eye for the guy in the yellow outfit. The bully has written a love letter to her and you can now make a choice. You can give the letter to the girl or to the toilet hand. I tried both variants just to see which one was better. The outcome for you is the same, you get 5 Gratitude Crystals, but you'll get a different couple each time. If you give the letter to the girl, she will be interested in the bully, but then the yellow guy then gets jealous and in the end the yellow guy and the girl will be together, which makes the bully sad. If you give the love letter to the toilet hand, it will fell in love with the bully and harass him at night, which gives him nightmares. The latter one was funnier and meeting the ghost hand was kind of cool, so I went with this one. I don't know at this point, if this sidequest gets any further. But in general I don't like these kind of choices in a Zelda game. Yeah, yeah, I said earlier that video games are defined by their interesting choices, but I always want an ultimate save file in my Zelda games, one where I got everything. The only other Zelda games to do that were the ones from Capcom, especially the Oracle games, so this was probably Fujibayashi's input. But it adds somehow to the replay value. If you play the game a second time, you can go for the other variant.

The Gratitude Crystals seem to be another nice collectible quest. You can get 5 for making a person happy, but they are also single ones hidden in Skyloft at night. The latter is fun, it's very atmospheric to explore Skyloft at night an the crystals are hidden in clever places. One is inside Zelda's room and there doesn't seem to be a way to open it. But on the roof ot the academy there's a chimney, which you can enter with the Clawshot. It might be the way to enter Zelda's room, but I will find out.

Well, I got the FUN, FUN minigame to start and like usually I got frustrated at first. It seemed impossible to do it right. But as usual you get the hang of it and get better at it. If it wasn't for the Piece of Heart, I probably would have ignored the minigame alltogether. Actually I didn't know what I would be getting, he just said there's a special price and I wanted to have it. I thought it probably would be a Heart Piece and I was right. But before I got it I won tons of Rupees. In the thousands. You can win 480 Rupees with one game. I got so many Rupees by just playing this minigame all over again, that I could effort EVERY item in Beedle's Airshop except for the Heart Piece, which is sold for 1600 Rupees. And I only couldn't effort it, because my wallet only extends to 1400. But I got the last pouch, the Life Medal and the Bug Medal. The latter is really helpful.

I also won my first Evil Crystal at the Bamboo Slice Guy's minigame. 25 cuts with the weakest sword. The Evil Crystal was important, because I now could finally upgrade my Bug Net to the Big Bug Net, which is awesome and very handy, it makes catching stuff much, much easier. The Spreadshot is also a lot of fun, I love the upgrades. But by now I've made all possible upgrades, so I'll need to get more items first.

Now the real funny thing today was that I tried to do some sidequests in the forest after the Silent Realm, but I would accidently run into the next main quests. Twice. First I investigated an underwater hole in the giant tree. This would lead me to the tree top, where an old Kikwi gives guidance (he actually tells you "it's a secret to everybody", nice easter egg). But the view from the tree top is amazing. We've seen this already in the E3 2010 demo, but finally experiencing it for myself was amazing. Absolutely stunning.

So, before heading to Lake Floria I wanted to do another sidequest. I remembered that in Skyview Temple there was one single digging hole. I couldn't reach it earlier, because you needed to dive to get there. So, with my new swimming ability I returned to the dungeon and you dcan't imagine how much I freaked out when I learned that the whole dungeon got changed. Harder enemies, encounters with a Mogma, new puzzles and even a new boss fight against three Stalfos. I was totally HYPED. This felt so awesome, like they included a Master Quest right into the main quest. BEST. SIDEQUEST. EVER. - so I thought, yeah, I actually thought that this was a very awesome sidequest. The Mogma was talking about treasure hunting anyway... but at the end of the dungeon I was confused. Nothing was there except for a Goddess Cube. And I thought that can't be it. I even tried harping next to all butterflies, I actually harped all over the place. It didn't make sense, so I thought that maybe I get something special from the treasure chest, leaving the place. Then I had to learn that this was actually part of the main quest. If you go to Lake Floria first, the guardian water dragon thingy (I have a real problem with names today) wants Sacred Water. As it turns out there's a special spot in the source of the Skyview Temple, where you can get Sacred Water. So, the whole thing wasn't a sidequest, it was something I was supposed to do afterwards!

And while I'm disappointed that this wasn't just a sidequest (it would have been sooo awesome!), I'm actually really happy that the game let me get confused like that by playing the revisited dungeon early. This is a non-linear game course, the game let me do things in advance, even though I wasn't supposed to do them yet. I discovered the whole thing on my own without any guidance, just because I was obsessed with sidequests. And that's something that I will remember! Skyward Sword just got so much more interesting today. This also directly hits on my previous complaints. My biggest complaint so far about the game was that the first three dungeons all have the same linear, boring, small layout. This still holds, but the revamped version of the Skyview Temple was a lot more interesting. Non-linear, optional parts with hidden treasures, just more the way I like it. I'm guessing that the Earth Temple and Lanayru Mining Facility will get revamped too and I'm looking forward to it.

I'm at the entrance of the Ancient Cistern right now. Let's see how this dungeon will perform.


chickenleather said...

You seem to be enjoying Skyward Sword and that's nice to see. I was wondering if you were still following Malstrom because of his recent negativity towards Skyward Sword. It makes me uneasy.

TourianTourist said...

No, I'm not following Malstrom recently, because I'm too busy having fun with Skyward Sword.

He hasn't played the game and he never will. His opinion therefore doesn't matter, it's entirely clouded with prejudices, he's like a gaming racist. He boycotts a game, which is a lot of fun, just because it has a tutorial/story phase at the beginning.

But I definitely agree with some of Malstrom's older points. Zelda has to be more open again and the dungeons need to be constructed as mazes. The dungeons so far were the biggest weak point of Skyward Sword and I do not like the fact that the overall game course is quite linear. These are the two weak points that will ultimately prevent this game from being perfect. Zelda has to change a lot more in the future, the promised "back to basics"-approach is not present in this game. Still it makes a lot of steps in the right direction.

And none of this changes that this game is a lot of fun to play, which is ultimately the most important thing. If you have fun with a game, who cares what other people have to say?

And then there's Skyrim, which seems to be the big rival of Skyward Sword atm. But this game doesn't really appeal to me. I'm not saying it's a bad game, I never played Elder Scrolls, so I clearly can't tell. It just looks too generic, the typical XBox/PS3 game with this dirty realistic look. I'm bored of it, I can't stand one more game with these looks. Instead of Battlefield 3 I play good old Unreal Tournament, there's nothing wrong with colors. Malstroms attacks the creativity of Nintendo, but I think it's their creativity which gives the games their charme. The lack of creativity is what makes games like Battlefield 3 or Skyrim unappealing to me.

chickenleather said...

Glad for the input :).